This article is part of our NHL Picks series.
If you need proof that the NHL playoffs are better than any other sport's postseason, just look at what Winnipeg's Mark Barron did last night. The guy took a skate to the face and needed 75 stitches. What did he do? He got stitched up, through a cage on his helmet, and played the rest of the game in a Jets' Game 1 victory. Now that's toughness. And with that said, here are the best NHL bets for tonight!
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Stanley Cup Playoff Picks Tonight
Islanders vs Hurricanes
Of all the Game 1s the matchup between these two clubs might've been the most boring. The Canes eeked out a win in a 2-1 affair that saw all 3 goals come in the game's first 25 minutes. Both Canes' goals came on the power play while the Isles went 0-for-4 with the man advantage. Antti Raanta stopped 25 of 26 shots to improve to 7-0 with a 1.50 .GAA in 9 home starts. The Hurricanes are now 8-1 on home ice in the past two postseasons. The Islanders won the majority of their games at home in the regular season and played around .500 hockey on the road. The Canes are 40-5-4 when they score the first goal, and I think their smothering forecheck will get the first one again tonight and propel them to a 2-0 series lead.
Hurricanes ML -170
Panthers vs Bruins
The Bruins cruised to a 3-1 win in Game 1 but the Panthers did not go quietly into the night. The Cats outshot the Bruins and kept it tight for most of the game though so it was a closer game than meets the eye. Alex Lyon will get the nod in net again for Florida and will face off against Vezina frontrunner Linus Ullmark who showed why he's being considered for that award in Game 1. The B's will be without Patrice Bergeron for a second straight game and the Panthers will get Sam Bennett back in the lineup to add some grit from the center position. That little extra edge might be what the Cats need to steal a game, or at least have the chance to near the end of this one.
Panthers PL -140
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Wild vs Stars
Game 1 of this series went to double overtime and saw Ryan Hartman pot the game-winner in a true example of NHL playoff tenacity after he struggled with injuries throughout the course of the game. The Wild might've survived that game by the skin of their teeth though. Although Dallas goalie Jake Oettinger did have to make some big saves to keep the game alive in overtime, the Stars basically controlled 5-on-5 play for the last half of the game and hit the post on several shots that could've turned the tide. Minnesota's Matt Dumba sent Joe Pavelski to the dressing room with a high hit early in the affair, and Pavelski will miss tonight's tilt. I think the Stars rally around that and get some puck luck on their side this time around.
Stars ML -150
Kings vs Oilers
Talk about stealing a win on the road. That's exactly what the Kings did in Game 1. They were down 3-1 and rallied with 2 goals in the 3rd, including the tying goal with under a minute left, to send the game to overtime. They capitalized on a power play in the extra frame and walked away with an upset over arguably the hottest team in hockey down the stretch. Connor McDavid was held off the score sheet, and it's tough to bet that he goes scoreless again tonight. Joonas Korpisalo definitely bested Stuart Skinner between the pipes, as the former turned away 37 of the 40 shots that came his way. The Oilers were 16 seconds away from victory in Game 1 though. The Oilers carried the play 5-on-5 but were victim to six penalties that the Kings converted into two goals. The game was clearly in Edmonton's favor for most of the contest, and with a little bit of adversity to rally from, I think the Oilers take care of business tonight.
Oilers PL +115